Missoula Police Chief Mike Brady has appointed Detective Sergeant Travis Welsh as the official Public Information Officer for the police department.

At a meet-and-greet session with Missoula print, television and radio reporters on Thursday, January 30, Welsh, a 23 year veteran of the police force, described his duties as the new Public Information Officer.

"The position is specifically designed so that we have one person who disseminates all the information relevant to the public's right to know," Welsh said. "It creates one voice, one consistent message because it comes from just one person."

Welsh said with the rapidly changing media landscape, having one point person for media personnel to contact at the police department is vital.

"It's gotten to the point now with all the social media out there and the increase in everybody's work load, that's it's really prudent to have one person specially designated to do all that, and eliminate the burden from other tasks around the department."

Chief Brady said the time was right to appoint a public information officer from within the department.

"It's something that I've wanted to do, and now I have the ability to do it," Brady said. "We've taken the time to develop a process that will make it function efficiently, and make it worthwhile," Brady said.

The Missoula County Sheriff's Office has had a Public Information Officer for several years, starting with Jason Johnson, and now with Paige Pavalone.